Greater Toronto Airports Authority and Air Canada announce a new Commercial Agreement to build global hub

PR Newswire

TORONTO, Oct. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) and Air Canada announce an enhanced commercial relationship to further develop Toronto Pearson as a global hub.  In addition, the new commercial agreement is designed to deliver continued improvements to customer service, offering Canadians greater flight frequencies to existing markets and opening up access to more global destinations.

"As Canada's largest airport, it is important to work with our air carriers to further develop Toronto Pearson as North America's premier gateway.  This agreement with Air Canada will allow us to continue to support our local and national economy, improve service levels for all of our passengers, and help Canada to compete globally," said Howard Eng, President and CEO of the GTAA.

"This agreement provides momentum to our strategy to develop Toronto Pearson into an even stronger North American gateway and a truly global airline hub. It will transform our relationship with the GTAA, enabling us to better work together to enhance the Toronto Pearson experience and position Air Canada to capture a larger share of growing international traffic flows on a more cost effective basis," said Ben Smith, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of Air Canada.  "Toronto has the potential to become a preferred global routing because it offers some of the best elapsed travel times between the U.S. and major centres in Europe and Asia. At Toronto Pearson, Air Canada customers benefit from dedicated transborder and international Maple Leaf Lounges featuring concierge service and a newly streamlined transit process to expedite connections; all reasons why Air Canada and Toronto Pearson are the best options for travel to and from North America."

The agreement, which takes effect on January 1, 2014, is for an initial five year term and includes annual fixed aeronautical fees for Air Canada, representing its share of aeronautical costs in relation to landing fees, general terminal charges and apron fees. The fixed annual fees may be adjusted in certain circumstances, including instances when fees for all other carriers operating at Toronto Pearson are adjusted.   The initial five year term will be extended for a further five years, if agreed passenger volumes are met.

The agreement commits both Air Canada and the GTAA to continued passenger service improvements, including baggage delivery and aircraft de-icing wait times.

The GTAA continues to maintain rate setting autonomy for all air carriers and business partners operating at Toronto Pearson, including its aeronautical charges, the Airport Improvement Fee and other commercial fees for airport tenants and air carriers.  This non-exclusive agreement, which provides Air Canada the opportunity to earn rebates based on substantial incremental passenger volumes in excess of certain growth targets, maintains the GTAA's ability to enter into similar commercial agreements with other air carriers, as well as to continue to enhance the travel experience for Toronto Pearson passengers.

About the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA):
The GTAA is the operator of Toronto Pearson International Airport, Canada's biggest airport and one of the largest airports in North America in terms of passenger and air cargo traffic.  In 2012, Toronto Pearson handled 35 million passengers and is ranked 2nd largest in international passenger traffic in North America.  The focus of the GTAA continues to be on competitiveness, growing the airport's status as an international gateway, meeting the needs of our passengers and ensuring the long-term success of the organization, our airline customers and the regional economy.

About Air Canada
Air Canada is Canada's largest domestic and international airline serving more than 175 destinations on five continents.  From Toronto Pearson, it operates up to 380 return flights a day and serves up to 136 destinations worldwide: This includes 30 destinations in Canada, 44 in the United States, 34 in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, 16 in Europe and the Middle East, 5 in Asia, 6 in South America and one in Australia. In 2012, Air Canada served 19.1 million arriving and departing passengers at Pearson.  As Canada's flag carrier it is among the 20 largest airlines in the world and in 2012 served close to 35 million customers.  Air Canada is the only international network carrier in North America to receive a Four-Star ranking according to independent U.K. research firm Skytrax that ranked Air Canada in a worldwide survey of more than 18 million airline passengers as Best Airline in North America in 2013 for the fourth consecutive year. Air Canada is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's most comprehensive air transportation network serving 1,328 destinations in 195 countries.   For more information, please visit: www.aircanada.com.  Follow @aircanada on Twitter and be a fan on facebook.com/aircanada.

Forward-Looking Information

This news release contains certain forward-looking information regarding the commercial agreement entered into by the GTAA and Air Canada, including statements regarding: the further development of Toronto Pearson into an even stronger North American gateway and global hub; the delivery of continued improvements to customer service; the offering of greater flight frequencies to existing markets and the opening up of access to more global destinations; the positioning of Air Canada to capture a larger share of growing international traffic flows on a more cost-effective basis; Toronto's potential to become a preferred global routing; the date the agreement takes effect; the initial term of the agreement and any extension; the adjustment of fixed annual fees; the opportunity for Air Canada to earn rebates; continued passenger service improvements; the GTAA's ability to enter into commercial agreements with other carriers; enhancing the travel experience for Toronto Pearson passengers; and the GTAA continuing to support its local and national economy, improve service levels for all of its passengers and help Canada compete globally. This forward-looking information is based on a variety of assumptions and is subject to risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking statements cannot be relied upon due to, amongst other things, changing external events and general uncertainties of the business. Actual results may differ materially from results indicated in forward-looking statements due to a number of factors. Please see the documents filed by the GTAA and Air Canada with securities regulatory authorities for a discussion of such factors, risks, uncertainties and assumptions related to the forward-looking information.

Any forward-looking information contained in this news release represents the GTAA's and Air Canada's respective expectations as of the date of this news release and are subject to change. The GTAA and Air Canada each disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under applicable securities legislation.

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